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THE UK branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta UK) reported that scientists believe contact with live animals or the flesh of slaughtered animals may be the source of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The virus is similar to other coronaviruses, like severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and all three are spread from animals to humans.
These coronaviruses are believed to be “zoonotic diseases,” meaning they jump from animals to humans.
In fact, research suggests that most emerging infectious diseases originate in animals.
Filthy factory farms, abattoirs and meat markets threaten the health of every human being on the planet by providing a breeding ground for deadly diseases.
The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have originated in a market in Wuhan, China, where humans had direct contact with live animals and animal flesh.
The Wildlife Conservation Society said poorly regulated live-animal markets mixed with an illegal wildlife trade offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spill over from wildlife hosts into the human population.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, China banned the buying, selling, and eating of wildlife.
These so-called wet markets mean that people come into contact with live and dead animals, including dogs, chickens, pigs, snakes and civets.
That makes it easy for “zoonotic diseases” to jump from animals to humans.
Covid-19 and the Sars outbreak of 2003 are from the coronavirus family and both originated in the live-animal and illegal wildlife trade.
In the case of Covid-19 and previously Sars, bats were the original hosts.
It seems the bats then infected other animals, which in turn transmitted the disease to humans.
The exponential increase in the abuse and exploitation of animals over the last 70 years has reached gargantuan proportions.
The evidence shows that while factory farming might generate huge profits for the capitalist class and provide access to cheap animal produce, the health implications are dire.
Bringing animals together in unnatural situations like those on factory farms and wet markets has resulted in deadly human diseases emerging.
Banning meat consumption might not be publicly acceptable at the moment, but it is causing a huge public-health crisis.
There is a case for labelling animal produce to warn the public that it can damage their health, just as we do with cigarettes.
Unless we do something about this public health threat, the filthy farms crammed full of sick animals will continue to be breeding grounds for new, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”
Some studies claim that by 2050, more people will be dying of such diseases than of cancer.
The United Nations found that the majority of new human diseases originated in animals and that many of those were directly linked to animals used for food.
Peta UK reminds us that, in addition to carrying a high risk of contamination from pathogens — including E coli, campylobacter, and salmonella — meat contains no fibre and is packed with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol.
Furthermore, the World Health Organisation states that consuming processed meat causes cancer.
In addition to the health implications, the livestock industry is also destroying the planet by contributing to climate change, contaminating groundwater and polluting our rivers.
Going vegan reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, strokes, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and numerous other conditions.
It also spares almost 200 animals daily misery followed by a terrifying death.
What other lifestyle choices improve public health, reduce cruelty and help to save the planet?
As Martin Luther King Jnr once said, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing,” and the right thing to do today is to go vegan.
Chris Williamson was MP for Derby North from 2010-15 and 2017-19.
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